Is Whistleblowing Ethical or Unethical?

Whether whistleblowing is ethical or unethical? Can somebody know about the unethical activity and be silent about it. Padding an expense account is a one such unethical thing that an employee does (happens with small business to corporates). If the coworker is aware of the peer’s activity, then is it safe to be silent or is it safe to be whistle blow.

Whistleblowing is an ethically complex act that involves several different overlapping understandings of obligation, honesty, loyalty, and duty.

While whistleblowers are often—with justification portrayed as being heroic figures in the news media and popular culture, the decision to engage in whistleblowing is not an act of pure unvarnished moral righteous. Rather, it involves the evaluation of competing moral claims on one's identity and action, and a decision to act in ways that honor one set of moral obligations at the expense of others. (Paeth, 2013).

Ethical analysis of moral conflicts is often resolved either by consequentialist appeals to the greatest good, or by attempts to rank moral obligations according to some understanding of their relative weight on their moral scale.

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As important as such attempts are, however, they tend to obscure the tragic attempt of moral conflicts. For instance, in the above example (assume an employee has padded an expense account). Here we understand that employee has done it for his/her benefit. The employee also exhibits a high level of identification with the organization; however, when then matter is escalated, or whistle is blown to the higher management then, the whistleblower may need to seek out additional information, focusing on the implications of whistle-blowing in relation to work and nonwork based identities.

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The identity perspective is an ideal framework to shed light on the individual-level motivations behind whistle-blowing. Investigation of the content of identities (e.g., moral identity) may help us build on consistent results and clarify findings regarding demographic variables such as age and moral development, while examination of the salience of hierarchical organization of multiple identities and multiple identifications may aid in elucidating the results about tenure, attachment, and other inconsistent factors. (Abhijeet, Ruth , 2019)

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Is Whistleblowing Ethical or Unethical?. (2024, Feb 04). Retrieved from

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